What role does art have in life or more specifically what role does it have in the Christian life? Sometimes, we fail to be captivated by the ingenuity and imaginations of God’s people, only noting those things that cannot be ignored (because of size, use in culture, etc.). That’s why it was interesting when the book 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know by Terry Glaspey arrived on my doorstep.
Terry Glaspey is a teacher at Northwind Seminary, a seminary (from my limited research) that maintains a questionable theology that denies God’s sovereignty. He is also billed as a conference speaker and an author who has written a number of books (such as The Prayers of Jane Austen and Discovering God Through the Arts). This particular book was written to reveal the stories behind some of the most intriguing works of culture.
Obviously, any book such as this is subjective, but the author has used variety to his advantage. Within is covers are the stories of a broad use of mediums (including paintings, buildings, music and song, film, and even other books), over a broad period of time (from historical eras through some modern works), from a broad level of notoriety (some works are widely known while some or hardly known at all).
Truthfully, my knowledge is so limited that I cannot say how faithful the author remains to the true or traditional story behind each work. Because that is part of the point of the book, this is an important aspect, yet I am unqualified to evaluate it. I can only say of those few stories I did know, Glaspey does well by explaining the work and then offering a biographical sketch of the individual behind it.
From the outset, the author notes that those included in this book may not have been orthodox in their Christian doctrine, but instead he chose to utilize a broad definition of Christian. This combines with a broad use of Scripture. I do not mean that he cites verses throughout the book; in fact, they are quite sparse. However, his use of Scripture is broadly applied, often taken out of context or spiritualized.
Ultimately, 75 Masterpieces Every Christian Should Know is a unique work. If, as a reader, you are seeking a book that is faithful to God’s truth, this book will frustrate you. However, if you are simply interested in the stories behind great pieces of art throughout history, then this is a book that might interest you. Personally, I enjoyed the book as the stories offer themselves as great conversational pieces and even some potential sermon illustrations. Yet, you will not find me referencing or recommending this book to other Christians. If anything, this book does cause Christians to marvel at God’s gift of creativity.
To learn more about this book or purchase a copy, click here.
Coffee Pairing: Every good book deserves to be paired with a good cup of coffee. I would pair this book with a cup of Indonesian Bali Blue Moon from Burman Coffee Traders. This coffee partners well with this book only because I just roasted some at home. Reminiscent of the works outlined in this book, there is an artistry involved in creating a coffee that is pleasing to me and others. It requires precision and patience, just as the creators utilized in their works.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book at no charge to me for the purposes of review. However, this review was not influenced in any way by the author, publisher, or anyone else associated with the book.